GALLERY: Hammers snatch unlikely victory at Harpenden
PUBLISHED: 12:47 02 March 2015 | UPDATED: 12:06 19 March 2015
Harpenden only had themselves to blame after missing out on the chance to go second in London Two North West on Saturday.
Harpenden RFC 11 Hammersmith and Fulham 17
Tom Stagg drives forward
Tom Rolfe gets ready in the lineout
Adam Stirling is dragged into touch in the corner
Aaron Wilde gets tackled
Chris Wilkinson holds onto the tackle
Adam Stirling looks to beat his man
Oliver Lacey steps inside
Aaron Wilde tries to block a kick
The Harpenden front row prepare for a scrum
With four teams locked in a battle for the only play-off spot, Harpenden yielded the lead after losing out to rivals Hammersmith and Fulham 17-11.
It means Matt Davies’ side is three points off Chiswick and the Hammers, both of whom have 61 points, with four games to go. Harrow sit atop the league with a 16 point cushion and promotion seems all but assured.
On Saturday, Harpenden should have confirmed their place as favourites for the opportunity to play the runners-up of London Two North East for the right to play in the division above after dictating much of the game.
The forwards dominated the first 40 minutes but a try from back row Dave Green after he had linked up with wing Ashley Smith was scant reward in return for so much possession.
Aaron Wilde added a penalty but eight points was all Harpenden had to show at the break. Credit must go to Hammers’ three-quarter line, in particular left wing Si Doherty, which was superb in repelling attacks. The hosts’ fly-half, Jacob Bray, was also impressive although he was helped by a Harpenden lapse in concentration as he scooted over the line just before the break for his first of two tries.
Leading by one, Harpenden padded their lead with a penalty from Wilde, but it should have been more as the forwards continued to gain ball. They were unable to take advantage, though, and it came back to haunt them as Henry Tanner gave the Hammers an unexpected lead with an easy run-in.
Harpenden were still in with a chance but casual marking in the backs let in Bray for his second try and his team’s third as they recorded an unlikely win.
Harpenden will look to get back on track on Saturday away at struggling Old Merchant Taylors’.